Jim Nixon is remarkable. He is known to the LGBTQ community through his many years of advocacy, his sales work with Watermark and his efforts to elevate Metro Wellness and Community Centers through strategic outreach and marketing. Thanks to Jim, the LGBTQ Welcome Center in St. Pete’s Grand Central District has been refreshed and refocused, serving as a safe and inviting place for both residents and visitors.
The broader Tampa Bay community, and especially our growing arts community, may know Jim through his work with Ruth Eckerd Hall or The Dali Museum. Today, we also know Jim as St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman’s LGBTQ Liaison, a vital role encouraged by the Human Rights Campaign. It speaks to Jim’s remarkability that he volunteered for the position long before our city coffers allowed us to fund it. As both a volunteer and an employee, he has excelled. Readers of Watermark likely know that Mayor Kriseman is a longtime champion for the LGBTQ community and has illustrated that in ways big and small.
However, having Jim extend the mayor’s reach to further engage the LGBTQ community and address certain challenges has proven to benefit both the mayor and the city we love.
On a personal note, I have the pleasure of not just supervising Jim’s work, but of being his friend. When I was subjected to some of the unfortunate politics and ugliness that too often accompanies public service, Jim was one of the first people to reach out and offer truly heartfelt support. His generosity and passion to give back was most recently evidenced by his involvement in The SMART Ride. He trained hard and raised thousands of dollars, finishing as one of the top 50 fundraisers this year. He’s truly remarkable, and one of the many reasons we say the “sun shines here” in St. Pete.